Google resolves French copyright dispute over online content

PARIS, June 21 (Reuters) – The Google Alphabet unit (GOOGL.O) has pledged to resolve a copyright dispute in France over online content, the country’s antitrust authority said on Tuesday. , as pressure mounts for big tech platforms to share more of their revenue. with the media.

Google, owned by Alphabet, also dropped its appeal against a 500 million euro ($528 million) fine, the authority said. The fine was paid last year. Read more

The decision ends the authority’s investigation into Google, which agreed to talks with news agencies and other publishers about paying them for using their news on its platform.

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Google will commit to a compensation proposal within three months of the start of negotiations, and if no agreement can be reached, the case will be decided in court.

The US company will also ensure that the negotiations have no impact on how information is presented on its search pages.

The decision comes as international pressure mounts on online platforms such as Google and Facebook to share more revenue with the media.

“The authority considers that the commitments made by Google have the characteristics to respond to competition problems,” said the Competition Authority in its judgment.

Antitrust chief Benoit Coeure said the decision would be closely scrutinized by other European countries.

He wraps up a three-year-old case sparked by complaints from some of France’s biggest news agencies, including AFP.

THE MEDIA “DEPRIVED OF POTENTIAL REVENUE STREAM”

News publishers had argued that Google’s increased online ad sales were underpinned by exploiting snippets of their online news content, depriving them of a potential revenue stream at a moment of decline in print sales.

The tech giant, which has since signed settlements with several of the plaintiffs, initially dismissed the claims, saying the web traffic it was bringing in through its search engine and news aggregator was driving significant numbers of internet users. to news websites, allowing publishers to generate their own advertising revenue.

AFP and several leading news outlets, including Le Monde, Le Figaro and Liberation newspapers, have since announced separate agreements with Google, intended to cover this copyright law.

Terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

Sébastien Missoffe, country manager and vice-president of Google France, wrote in a blog post that Google had agreements with more than 150 press publications in France for “neighbouring rights”.

“We will continue to work to secure more deals with eligible French publishers and news agencies to further support journalism in France, building on many years of investment,”

Google agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French newspaper publishers to end the copyright row, according to documents seen early last year by Reuters.

($1 = 0.9471 euros)

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Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Louise Heavens and Bernadette Baum

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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